Spain's World Cup Roster Decided
Vicente del Bosque has made his decision. Spain's final list of 23 is comprised of, by his own words, "the best ones right now", even though he did admit it was hard to leave seven players off of the preliminary list.
Among the surprises, two involve Barcelona players; Victor Valdes will make it as a third goalkeeper, even though the nation was split as to whether Valdes would be a good addition to the squad. Many also questioned whether his ego would be detrimental to the team, considering that he will most likely not play a single minute in the tournament, yet del Bosque is still taking him to South Africa.
The other major news is the calling of Pedro as one of the attacking players for the national side. Pedro has never been called for Spain; so his first official call-up could not have come at a better time.
Athletic Bilbao will provide to players for Spain's roster: Fernando Llorente as a forward, and Javi Martinez in the midfield. Both players were key in Athletic's run in La Liga and Europa League
Everybody expected Javi Martinez to give Busquets and Senna a run for their money when it came to deciding the defensive midfielder position. However, Llorente's call is a bit more controversial.
Athletic's forward has been the key scorer in Bilbao for the past three season, but he can only produce about 50-60 minutes of good soccer before he runs out of fuel.
At the same time, several players have been eliminated from the final list. The quality of these players shows just how talented Spain's squad is before heading to the World Cup.
Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla, both having had an average season with Villarreal, will watch the tournament from home. These two players had injuries throughout the season, and never found their top form, even though Cazorla finished the year very strong.
Villarreal's goalkeeper Diego Lopez was another one who was left out. Lopez had a good year in Villarreal, but a bit shaky nevertheless. Atletico's De Gea was also on the run for the third goalkeeper place, but not having played the entire season hurt him.
Alvaro Negredo and Dani Guiza, two forwards looking for Pedro's place, were not called in the list of 23. Fenerbahce's striker had a very irregular year, and nobody expected him to make it to South Africa.
Negredo's situation is a bit more surprising. He scored 14 goals in 43 games, decent numbers; which is no worse than the 23 goals Pedrito scored, taking into consideration he played 11 games more.
Osasuna's right defender Cesar Azpilicueta was the last name to not be on the final list; the fact that he is only 20 years of age, and the calling of Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos for the same position narrowed Cesar's chances shaprly.
Here is the final list of La Roja for South Africa:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
José Manuel Reina (Liverpool/ENG)
Víctor Valdés (Barcelona)
Raúl Albiol (Real Madrid)
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid)
Joan Capdevila (Villarreal)
Carlos Marchena (Valencia)
Gerard Piqué (Barcelona)
Carles Puyol (Barcelona)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Xavi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Francesc "Cesc" Fábregas (Arsenal/ENG)
Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona)
Javi Martínez (Athletic Club)
Xavi Hernández (Barcelona)
David Jiménez Silva (Valencia)
Jesús Navas González (Sevilla)
Juan Manuel Mata (Valencia)
Pedro Rodríguez (Barcelona)
Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club)
Fernando Torres (Liverpool/ENG)
David Villa (Valencia).
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